Helping Your Kiddos Make the “Back to School” Transition

Regardless of whether their summer days were filled with fun activities, vacations or complaints about having nothing to do, children sometimes have a tough time going back to school. As you may have experienced yourself, even parents will tell you they have mixed emotions about their little darlings going back to school. It’s even more heart wrenching if it’s first time, watching your little preschooler walk into the classroom, a backpack in hand that looks impossible large. The following tips will help you both make the transition into new school days.
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How Common Chemicals Endanger Child Brain Development

Chemicals contained in common products that an alarming number of families use every day are raising concerns among researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. These dangerous chemicals can be found in everything from pesticides to food packaging and personal care products. In a recent report published in the Environmental Health Perspectives NIH journal, 47 child health advocates, health practitioners and scientists have made a consensus announcement in Project TENDR (Targeting Environmental Neuro-Developmental Risks). The said announcement highly recommends that renewed attention be given to the escalating evidence that numerous widely available chemicals commonly used in our homes and schools are endangering neurodevelopment in children of all ages, including the fetus stage.
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Is Bacteria Lurking in Your Showerhead?

When was the last time you cleaned your showerheads? Maybe never? That would be what most of us would say. What you probably don’t realize is that there’s a good chance that, if you haven’t been cleaning them, your showerheads are harboring potentially infectious bacteria and encouraging their growth. Showerheads provide the ideal wet, dark and warm environment for bacteria growth, including Mycobacterium avium, known as “non-tuberculosis mycobacteria”.
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Healthiest Vegetables to Supercharge Your Health

The following nutrient rich vegetables are considered some of the top choices when it comes to being the healthiest. Each offers a long list of benefits including helping you feel more energetic, fight disease and even lose weight. So – go ahead, fill your plate and supercharge your health. We’re even including a tasty (and easy) recipe or cooking suggestion to try with each vegetable listed.
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Is That Lovely Scent Toxic?

Are you aware that just about anything that is scented more than likely contains hormone disrupting chemicals called phthalates, unless the products manufacturer specifically states that theirs only contains pure essential oils. As a matter of fact, phthalates, typically used in plastics, are also found is cosmetics, acting as toxin laden lubricators. Unfortunately, you probably won’t see the word “phthalates” listed on the label because they’re usually listed as “parfum” or “fragrance”.

Phthalates have been linked to obesity, autism, birth defect, early puberty and other health related issues. Because of the escalating number of disconcerting studies, phthalates are in the process of being phased out of numerous children’s products, including toys. In the United States, three phthalates, DEHP, DBP, and BBP, were temporarily restricted in any amount higher than 0.1%, in toys that a young child might commonly be place in their mouth. In Europe, the use of Phthalates in toys has been highly restricted since 1999.

Bottom line, it pays to choose a natural option, containing essential oils, when it comes to scented products, including household cleansers and perform due diligence when it comes to products and toys you purchase for your child as well.

Benefits of Taking a Bath with Epsom Salt

Is your arthritis acting up? Did you pull a calf muscle running? Well, the good news is you don’t have to wait to find relief thanks to a natural treatment grandma used to prescribe – taking a bath with Epsom salt. Yes, just a relaxing soak in the tub can help you feel better. This all natural, pure mineral compound has been used to ease all types of aches and pains for hundreds of years. Taking Epsom salt baths actually does much more than relieving pain – it has a long list of remarkable health benefits.

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Where Did the Lovely Scent of Essential Oils Go?

There is a multitude of ways that most of us try to make our homes smell welcoming and cozy (and cover up that toast we burned in the kitchen). Unfortunately, most of the air fresheners and products that use diffuses, even those touted as containing “natural” ingredients in the retail stores, never smell as good as their name implies. In many cases you also end up filling your lungs full of chemicals. That’s not the case with products made with true essential oils and without chemicals. That said, some have asked the question “Where did the fresh scent essential oils go? Well, your nostrils more than likely block the scent – a condition referred to as “Olfactory Fatigue”. This isn’t just the case with essential oils either.
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Reasons to Kick Your Paper Towel Addiction

After recently reading an article about the negatives of using paper towels, I started to notice just how much our household used them – me included. Conveniently located on my kitchen counter, everyone from my kiddos to my hubby mindlessly uses power towels. Whether it’s to clean up the countertops, wipe off our hands or blot up spills, we’re all guilty. I must admit, I felt a bit addicted to the convenience of using them, but I’m proud to say that our household is now paper towel free. What helped me breakthrough my love of paper towels was learning the following during chat I had with a friend that prompted me to research the topic – real eye openers.
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7 Tips for Washing Produce

In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to worry about chemicals/pesticides on our fruits and vegetables. We’d all be growing our own organic foods, happily tilling the chemical free soil. Well, that’s not the case for most of us and unfortunately harsh pesticides and supposedly “food-grade” waxes coat the majority of the produce filling the local supermarkets. Fortunately washing your fresh fruits and vegetables can remove different types of bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. However a quick rinse in water won’t get rid of the waxy coating or the pesticides. The good news is that just about everything you’ll need to clean your produce can be found in your kitchen.

Plain, Distilled Water

The FDA advocates washing produce with a good amount of cold or cool tap (we prefer distilled) water, using a vegetable brush on tough skinned produce like apples and cucumbers if the skin is going to be eaten. Most feel that just using water isn’t enough to remove all toxic chemicals from produce.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar offers a wide range of benefits which also include using it as a fruit and vegetable wash. Don’t worry, the vinegar taste evaporates. All you need is 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar (or white distilled in a pinch) and a large bowl. Mix everything together in the bowl and submerge the produce, swishing it around for about 30 seconds. Next, rinse with cool running water for about 30 more seconds and enjoy!

Baking Soda

Baking soda, another one of those substances with lots of eco-friendly attributes, makes a good produce wash. Baking soda is also one of the main ingredients in a lot of commercial produce washes. To use it, just add a 2 or 3 tablespoons of baking soda to a good sized bowl of water, soaking the fruits and vegetables for a couple of minutes and thoroughly rinse with cold water. You can also just sprinkle of bit of straight baking soda onto tough skinned fruits and vegetables and scrub it off with a produce brush, followed by rinsing.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice, which contains citric acid, is commonly used in green cleaning and is highly effective as an eco-friendly disinfectant that also has bleaching qualities. Just squeeze a little bit of lemon juice (about a tablespoon) in a bowl of water and soak your produce. The citric acid, along with the low pH levels can help remove toxic pathogens.

Non-toxic, All Natural Dishwashing Detergent

Dishwashing detergent makes a great produce wash, but only if it’s an “all natural”, non-toxic alternative like ours. Use 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent per gallon of water. Once again, soaking, scrubbing if applicable, followed by a thorough rinse.

Retail Produce Washes

The key to commercial produce washes is to make sure that the one you choose is made with all natural ingredients like lime and/or lemon extract, grapefruit seed extract, etc.

Produce Brushes

These brushes are used for washing produce that has thicker skins, like melons, cucumbers and apples. Giving tough skinned fruits and vegetables a good scrubbing with a produce brush can reduce bacteria by as much as 85%.

Following these tips for washing your produce will help protect yourself and your family.